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The Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives on Tuesday established a special Task Force to review the Pay Scale System for human resource (HR) recruitment in Higher Education Institutions HEIs.
The purpose of this task force is to develop an improved pay scale system that will attract and retain top-quality HR in the field of HEIs. The Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that recruiting & retaining top talent in the higher education sector is key to developing a knowledge economy.
In today's era of disruption and innovation, tertiary education plays a pivotal role in driving technology transfer and socio-economic uplift, said the Minister, who believes that highly trained HR personnel are a vital component of the innovative ecosystem, contributing to paradigm shifts within the sector.
The Minister further said that the establishment of the special Task Force signifies the government's commitment to addressing the challenges faced by the higher education sector in Pakistan. By enhancing the pay scale system, Pakistan aims to nurture an environment that rewards excellence and innovation in research and academia, he added.
The post-globalization era, characterized by rapid growth, the rise of digital technologies, global value chains, and increased mobility of human resources, has impacted economies worldwide, including the higher education sector. To maintain competitiveness in the global academic and research landscape and enhance the global positioning of Pakistan's higher education sector, it is essential to have competent and highly capable faculty and staff. Regrettably, the current pay scales offered in public sector universities in Pakistan fail to meet expectations. The introduction of new competitive, performance and market-based pay scales should help attract and retain the best resources, enabling Pakistan to lead in research and academia.
Currently, the higher education sector in Pakistan lacks standardized pay scales, with institutions following either the Basic Pay Scale (BPS) or their own pay scales. Universities that adhere to the BPS are not consistently implementing the pay and allowances prescribed by the respective government. Instead, they are practicing modified versions of the BPS, with new or existing allowances above the prescribed rates.
These variations in BPS scales across universities have created salary discrepancies, resulting in demotivation, dissatisfaction, and conflicts among faculty and staff. Furthermore, this situation has negatively impacted the quality of education and research in the country. Departing from the BPS has also raised audit objections, and numerous audit paras are currently under consideration in PAC meetings. Implementing a new pay scale system will address these disparities and promote a fair and just compensation system for universities and HEIs. The new pay scale will be equitable, transparent, and reflective of market rates, while providing performance-based incentives and rewards for top performers.
In addition to resolving salary-related conflicts among faculty members and staff, this effort aims to achieve the following steps which include standardization of the salary system across universities by eliminating variances; Prevention of brain drain by retaining talented faculty and staff members through market-based compensation packages, as many are currently leaving public sector universities in Pakistan in search of better opportunities; attraction of the best human talent from both local and global job markets to universities and to ensure provision of quality faculty in remote & under-developed area universities.